I'm overwhelmed with great advice

Sep 11th, 2007, 02:51 PM
  #1  
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I'm overwhelmed with great advice

My 19 year old daughter and I love exploring cities over a long weekend and we've finally acted on our "daydream" to make Paris our next city. We already have flights booked for a trip in May for a five day "long" weekend. Then we bought the guide and have highlighted until the ink ran out. But, we still need help deciding where to stay!!! Our budget is modest (no more than $150 a night) but our needs are too -- just a shower and place to sleep.

As New Yorkers, we're used to cramped rooms, street noise, using public transportation (we're buying the week long pass for the Metro) and watching out for pickpockets. We're hoping to find some little hotel with a traditional French feel, near the Metro, in a neighborhood where there is some nightlife, interesting places to walk and shop and eat. And not too far from the tourist sights...

We plan to use the hop-on busses to get oriented. We want to see Versailles and hope to make a day trip to Normandy. Other than that, we just want to explore!

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
aGirlfromBrooklyn is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 03:09 PM
  #2  
 
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I'd book a B&B... you and your daughter will probably share a spare bedroom in someone's apartment, have a bath to yourself, breakfast every morning, and access to the advice of a native Parisian.
travelhorizons is online now  
Sep 11th, 2007, 03:12 PM
  #3  
 
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First off, I would probably forget both Versailles and Normandy. With only 5 days (and does that include travel days?), you will barely touch the surface of what to see in Paris alone.

Next, you should prioritize what is most important for you to see and do. I would then get out a map and scratch out an intinerary based on what to see/do and try to base it around the areas you will be in.

I planned our days out pretty full and put all the info on where we were going, costs, buses or metro stops, etc. on index cards. This was alot simpler than taking out large pieces of paper and fit in my pocket to look at whenever needed. However, although I had everything planned out in detail and had very full days planned, once you get there you should plan on being flexible with your itinerary.

I would also suggest an apt as it can often be cheaper than a hotel but with more room, more amenties (washer/dryer for example). I don't have a specific apt to refer but there are quite a lot out there. In fact, if you don't mind sharing a bed in a studio, there is a highly recommended one on the Ile St Louis that gets high reviews. I'll try to see if I can find it and post back.

Lastly, I would nix the hop/on-hop/off buses. They cost a lot and you get see just as much by riding on the regular buses. Bus #69 covers quite alot of ground. And although I haven't done this (but thought about it), the hop-on/hop-off boats seem pretty cool.
namaka is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 03:27 PM
  #4  
 
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With only 5 days, and the first day used up for getting settle and hotel (and being jet lagged) and the last day used in getting an waiting at airport...I would not consider daytrips. You can easily fill the 3.5 /4.5 (?) days (correct me if my math is wrong)in Paris.

If you MUST take a day trip, Versailles is the popular one. You can either take an organized trip (Cityrama and Parisvision are two big tour companies)...or, go on your own by train, ~30 minutes, go early an avoid crowds...but I sense you would be there on a weekend.

Do a search here for hotels, you will find a lot of background info, this is probably one of the most common questions on Paris here. You will see some names reappearing. Hotel Bonaparte is one, Muguet,etc..Also, look at Expedia, Travelocity, TripAdvisor for ideas...I've used them for bookings.

Where to stay...I'd say 4/5/6/7th arrondissements would be a popular and good choice for a first time visit. The 7th may be bit quieter at night and a bit further form sites, the others more central and with plenty of shops and restaurants. Have a look also at Ile St Louis, which is technically in the 4th, but bit different as it is an island. I have stayed there, but more expensive (~150 euros) but I think it may be of interest. Superb area, nice main street, mansions, restos,5 minutes to Notre Dame, etc.. Hotel Lutece, Deux Iles, St Louis are three on the island.

Try not to overbook things. I've been many times, and I still have places to see and restos to try. You'll BE in Paris, to FEEL in Paris you need time to just wander, sit at a cafe...otherwise you can easily get overwhelmed by scheduling..."Louvre in the morning, then Rodin, then Eiffel tower..."

At night, consider a Seine cruise, to see the buildings and Eiffel tower lit up...magical. I like Vedettes du Pont Neuf on Ile de la Cite, there are others near Place D'Alma (Bateaux Mouches). If you like classical music, plenty of concerts held in local churches, St Chapelle being a grander locale.

Let us know what hotels interest you, and an itinerary, people here can help in your planning.

Mike
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 03:29 PM
  #5  
 
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A nice break from reading guide books as you visit sites...is to have someone else tell you stories and anecdotes. I've used Paris Walks multiple times for guided tours. Good value and interesting
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 04:14 PM
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I also would not fill up your time with day trips. A long weekend is enough only to stay in Paris. How about Hotel Monge in the 5th?
suze is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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www.hotelmonge.com rates for doubles between 88 to 130 euro (depending on shower or bath, street-side or garden).
suze is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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Since you're planning well ahead, look at the Hotel des Grades Ecoles: http://www.france-hotel-guide.com/h75005ecoles2.htm. Well located, quiet and peaceful near the market on Rue Mouffetard and lots of restaurants. (Isn't it noisy down there in the Hotel Monge on Rue Monge?)
Mimar is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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Don't be overwhelmed with great advice. We like to mix in quite a bit of bad advice as well, to increase the adventure factor.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 12th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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I would second the recommendation to stay in the 5th or 6th. I think the 7th would be too quiet for your daughter and there really isn't much in the way of "nightlife." I would suggest the Hotel Familia or the sister hotel, the Hotel Minerve, both of which are in the 5th.

I also agree that if you have only 5 days, I would skip the "day trips" and concentrate on Paris. Maybe you could visit Versailles on the last day, but definitely not Normandy.
cheryllj is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 07:20 AM
  #11  
ira
 
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Hi GB,

With only 5 days, I suggest against planning any daytrips. You can always visit France after you have seen Paris.

We always stay at the Hotel Bonaparte, 61 Rue Bonaparte in the 6th. From 128E dbl w/bkfst. It is located near 3 metro stops. Has AC and an elevator.

Tel 33 1 43 26 97 37
FAX 33 1 46 33 57 67
[email protected]
www.hotelbonaparte.fr

For more info, enter "Hotel Bonaparte" in the "search this forum" box.

Photos are at http://tinyurl.com/ludgd

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 07:58 AM
  #12  
tod
 
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aGirlfromBrooklyn: Do yourself a favour and do a search on VirtualTourist.com
Click on "Peripatetic In Paris" by Beatchick. 261 tips & 693 pictures.
Loads of cheap/moderate hotels!
tod is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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For a "bed and a shower" hotel we like the 2* Andrea de Rivoli for its location. It is on the edge of the Marais, 4 blocks from Notre Dame, 1 block from the Pompidieu and about 6 blocks from the Louvre, Last time we were there a double was about 82 euros (about $110). It is not fancy but it is clean and in a great location.
AisleSeat is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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In the Latin Quarter down (towards the river) from the Sorbonne are a number of pleasant 2 or 3 star hotels but with a good bit of student life about
bilboburgler is online now  
Sep 12th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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I hope you enjoy Paris! My sister and I spent five full days (and two travel days) in Paris in June. We did both a trip to Versailles and a trip to Normandy. The Versailles trip was a little bit of a disappointment, but I would not trade the day trip to Normandy for three more days in Paris. It was an incredible experience. If you are interested in WW2, or French or U.S. history, or the relations between France and the U.S., I would not miss a trip to Normandy. If you don't have a particular interest in any of those topics, you may want to skip it. However, my sister did not have an interest in any of that before going, and it ended up being one of the most moving days for her. It was not her first time to Paris, so that may have made a difference for her. It was my first time to Paris, and I would not have changed that day trip at all. Our pictures and comments are on our blog at www.1month2sisters4countries.blogspot.com. The posts are in reverse chronological order, so don't get confused.

We did the D-Day tour with linkparis.com. It was excellent. Their tours are limited to 8 people. I don't think I would recommend a large tour. I would either do the small tour, or do a trip on my own. Either way, start with a morning at the museum.

On this forum, it seems that the automatic advice for everyone who has less than a week in Paris is to skip all day trips. Keep in mind that you may not want to do whatever is most popular. If you have specific desires to see certain things, by all means, make that a priority. Whatever you decide, have a great time! There is so much to do in Paris that you cannot go wrong. And the good thing is that you will always have something that you missed to encourage you to go back.

Have fun and let us know how it goes!
KatieL is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 08:54 AM
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bookmarking
bailey6325 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 11:37 AM
  #17  
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WOW! Thanks for the responses. You've been extremely helpful. We like all the hotel suggestions, and the comments.

Coming from NYC, where my daily commute is an hour for a six mile trip, a few hours in Versaille via the RER didn't seem like a day-trip, more like a side trip! Normany interested us for the US-French historical significance, but I'm beginning to think it will not only eat up our time, but also the pocketbook. (We'd like to pay respects, especially since we'll be there near Memorial Day.) On most of our travels we've taken advantage of on-off busses, both as a direct ride between sights and to enjoy the commentary on the way, then we just walk and explore.

Namaka -- the card idea is great. Mike -- we're already thinking of Paris Walks. Kerouac -- are you gong to be in Paris this spring? tod -- thanks for tunring us on to VirtualTourist! Everyone -- Thanks again. I can't wait!
aGirlfromBrooklyn is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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Aisleseat: We're considering hotel Andrea d Rivoli for our next trip to Paris. We'll be doing a lot of fine dining, don't soeak much French and hope to have our hotel willing to make reservations for us at a few places before we arrive and perhaps help with that once we're there as well. Did you find them willing to do this sort of thing? The reviews on Tripadvisor rave about the location but many say they felt totally left on their own and while the staff weren't exactly rude, they weren't particularly helpful.

We'd rather spend our money on meals than a fancy place to stay but would like some help with a few things, which is one reason we're thinking about a hotel as opposed to an apartment. Opinions?
plafield is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 12:23 PM
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Playfeld, Hotel Andrea is a 2*. The star system is given based of a lot of stuff like whether they have a concierge, a night clerk and a lobby bar. The people at the hotel were nice and spoke english a lot better than I spoke French.

One trick we have used when we are staying at a hotel that doesn't have a concierge is to go to another close-by bigger hotel that does have those services. They get kick-backs from tours, restaurants, limosenes and stuff so they don't mind helping out if they aren't busy.

The Hotel Andrea is on rue Bon about a half block off of Rivoli (a big busy street) and about a block from Hotel de Ville (with an ice skating rink in the winter). Enjoy your trip.
AisleSeat is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 12:28 PM
  #20  
 
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Oops.... that should be Plafield... sorry.
AisleSeat is offline  

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